Frankie Goes to Hollywood is a pop idea whose time has passed--not that this English band had all that much going for it in the first place. Rarely has a group appeared so dated so fast. The band did a good job Friday at the Greek Theatre churning out the guitar- and synthesizer-boosted rhythms that made its records dance-club favorites.
But a band like Frankie, whose strategy is to mix disco and rock textures into a campy theatrical package, needs to constantly surprise and stimulate its audience if it is to maintain its teasing, novel edge among young trend-conscious fans. Yet everything from the group's songs--with their simple, chant-like lyrics about social and sexual liberation--to the group's flashy but flat stage production suggested that this is a band whose imagination is running on empty.
Lead singer Holly Johnson wants to be a lively frontman, but ends up hopping haplessly about the stage as if leading an imaginary conga line.
The opening act, Belouis Some, is another reason British critics are turning increasingly to American rock for heroes. This Englishman's constant cajoling of the crowd to dance to his witless, neo-Bowie music started the evening on an unusually obnoxious note. Frankie Goes to Hollywood was also due Sunday at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.